Early in my tenure at UCLA, a hate-spewing preacher was again on campus in the free-speech zone. This time, though, rather than talk about how disgusting and damaging he was, we chose to do something with counter-action: we set up a stand and sold cups of lemonade. The longer he was there, the more lemonade we sold. The money was then donated to a local LGBT organization. So of course, we encouraged the dude to stay as long as he wished because he made money for us! Soon his visits became shorter and there were even a couple of years when he didn’t show up at all. Worked like a charm and my students felt like they were doing something active and positive!
What to do today to resist: Find creative responses to things that happen around you, like the people who turn white supremacist demonstrations into fundraisers for social justice.
Today in LGBT History – September 5
1954, UK – Violet Ellen Katherine Jones pretends to be a man so that she may marry Joan Lee in the Catholic Church. Rev. D. Clark performs the ceremony but then informs the Bishop of his suspicions. The couple is caught and taken to court where they admit to making false statements on their marriage license. They’re fined £25.
1967 – The television series N.Y.P.D. was the first series in America to air an episode with a gay theme. It was entitled “Shakedown.” The police track down a man blackmailing gay men, prompting several suicides.
1969 – Unitarian Universalist minister James Stoll (January 18, 1936 – December 8, 1994) is the first ordained minister in the U.S. or Canada to publically come out. He did so at the annual Continental Conference of Student Religious Liberals on September 5, 1969 at the La Foret Conference Center near Colorado Springs, Colorado. He led the effort that convinced the Unitarian Universalist Association to pass the first-ever gay rights resolution, in 1970. He also founded the first counseling center for gays and lesbians in San Francisco, then, in the 1970s, he established the first hospice on Maui. He was president of the San Francisco chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1990s. He died at the age of 58 from complications of heart and lung disease, exacerbated by obesity and a lifelong smoking habit.
1970, Columbia – Columbia “decriminalizes” “homosexual behavior,” changing it from a felony to a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is reduced to “only” three years.
1987, Netherlands – The Homomonument, a pink granite triangle memorial to LGBT victims of the Nazis, is dedicated in Amsterdam. The Homomonument is a memorial in the center of Amsterdam and commemorates all gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality. Opened on September 5, 1987, it takes the form of three large pink triangles made of granite, set into the ground so as to form a larger triangle, on the bank of the Keizersgracht canal near the historic Westerkerk church. The Homomonument was designed to “inspire and support lesbians and gays in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination.” It was the first monument in the world to commemorate gays and lesbians who were killed by the Nazis. Later, similar monuments were created in a number of cities all around the world.
1991 – ACT UP activists unfurl a giant condom at the home of N.C. Senator Jesse Helms who opposed sex education and AIDS research funding. Helms wrote the law barring HIV+ people from entering the U.S. That law was repealed in 2012.
Sept 5, 2007 – Principal Genna Suraci starts the school year at the Port Ewen, NY Career & Technical Center uneventfully, like any other school year. Over the summer, she’d officially transitioned from Gary to Genna. The school apparently took in stride their transsexual leader’s transition. Student Kaitlyn Walker, 17, was quoted in the New York Times saying, “It doesn’t matter what happened, it’s the person inside. It’s the same person. It doesn’t really matter if you change the outside.”
Let your voice speak out and change the world!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)